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Patriots’ young core ranked substantially higher than last year, still viewed in the middle-of-the-pack

A common criticism of the Patriots in recent years has been their poor drafting ability. The 2021 draft might have changed that narrative.

Football Outsiders’ Aaron Schatz ranked the Patriots’ under-25-year-old players as the 15th-best in the league, which is substantially up from 30th ranking they had last year and the 31st ranking they had in 2020.

Obviously, Mac Jones was the headliner of the 2021 draft class for the Patriots. His 3,801 passing yards, 23 passing touchdowns, and 92.5 passer rating were all the best among the five rookie quarterbacks selected in the first round of that year’s draft.